February 5, 2023

Li-ion cell is among the most vital power storage units in immediately’s time. The cell has lots of totally different chemistries, and the properties of those cells rely upon their inner chemistry. Each single chemistry has its personal professionals and cons.

Lithium-ion (Li-ion) cells present one of the vital power storages immediately. These cells are utilized in many digital objects together with smartphones, laptops, private moveable gear, cameras, and many others. The truth is, Li-ion cells have paved the way in which for environment friendly and lengthy ranged electromobility, thus making electrical automobiles (EVs) sensible for our day by day commute.

Li-ion cells are secondary cells or, in different phrases, rechargeable cells, that’s, they are often recharged by passing present within the reverse course. Li-ion batteries are light-weight and have greater power density than different kinds of rechargeable cells, thus making them appropriate for energy-intensive purposes the place fixed replenishment of power is crucial, equivalent to in our day by day electronics devices, EVs, dwelling power storage system. These are used even in purposes the place a considerable amount of power is saved, equivalent to grid power storage utility.

This text describes the six commonest Li-ion chemistries and the benefits in addition to disadvantages of every kind of cell, together with their properties.

Like many different generally obtainable cells, Li-ion cells are made up of 4 parts—cathode, anode, electrolyte, and separator. Li-ion cells generally use graphite at anode and an intercalated lithium compound at cathode. The capability and voltage of a Li-ion cell relies on the cathode whereas the cost and discharge fee of a battery is determined by the anode. The quantity of lithium and the energetic materials within the cathode dictates the battery capability and voltage whereas the potential distinction between the anode and the cathode determines the voltage of a battery.

The energetic compounds in Li-ion batteries work together in complicated and complementary methods. Due to this fact, understanding Li-ion cells’ chemistry is crucial for choosing probably the most appropriate one for an utility. The six commonest Li-ion battery cells are described under.

Comparisons of Li-ion battery chemistry performance parameters (Source: https://us.v-cdn.net)
Comparisons of Li-ion battery chemistry efficiency parameters (Supply: https://us.v-cdn.web)

LCO: Low power density, high-risk cell

Lithium cobalt oxide (LCO), also called lithium cobaltate, is a sort of Li-ion cell whose cathode is manufactured from lithium, cobalt, and oxygen. LCO cells have a decrease power density of 150 to 180Wh/kg and a nominal voltage of three.7V. LCO’s principal aspect, cobalt, is an energy-dense materials that can be very risky. Therefore, LCO batteries have excessive particular power however will not be appropriate for top cost and discharge charges. Moreover, these batteries have poor thermal stability, which makes them unsuitable for operation in harsh environments. LCO batteries are delicate to overcharging and operation in high-temperature environments and are susceptible to thermal runaway.

Utility. LCO batteries are extra appropriate to be used as power batteries than energy batteries and therefore are utilized in such purposes as smartphones, cameras, and many others.

LMO: Cell with low life and excessive C-rates

Lithium manganese oxide (LMO) batteries, or lithium-ion manganese batteries, are based mostly on manganese oxide, which is a non-toxic and earth-abundant aspect, making these batteries economical. These batteries have a nominal voltage of three.9V and an power density of 100 to 150Wh/kg. These batteries even have an exceptionally low self-discharge fee. The decrease inner resistance and high-temperature stability make these batteries a safer choice for power-intensive purposes. Furthermore, the LMO batteries can obtain excessive cost and discharge charges on account of their decrease inner resistance. However LMO cells have a decrease power capability and a low operational lifetime of 300 to 700 cycles, which has resulted in restricted analysis and development of this battery chemistry.

Utility. LMO cells are used as energy batteries in purposes requiring excessive steady energy and are thus best to be used in medical, navy, and industrial purposes. These will also be utilized in energy instruments, exterior defibrillators, and many others.

LFP: Lengthy lasting, reasonably priced, and secure cell

Lithium iron phosphate cells, also called lithium ferro-phosphate (LFP) cells, are one of the frequent cell chemistries in immediately’s time. These cells have a nominal voltage of three.2V and an power density of 90 to 160Wh/kg. Though having a decrease power density than many different chemistries, LFP has a really excessive operational life of seven,000 to 12,000 cost cycles. The LFP cells have excessive thermal stability, low self-discharge charges, and low inner resistance, which make LFP cells appropriate for energy operations that may obtain excessive cost and discharge charges. LFP cells are one of the reasonably priced chemistries, contemplating their lengthy operational life.

Utility. LFP cells are appropriate for high-power purposes and can be utilized in harsh circumstances, making them a superb choice for purposes in low-powered EVs, equivalent to e-rikshaws and e-bikes. These are additionally appropriate for industrial gear which have beforehand relied on lead-acid batteries, equivalent to forklifts, heavy machines, and different gear.

Some vital traits of various Li-ion cell chemistries
Chemistry Cell
(In volts)
Density (WH/kg)
discharge (% / month)
Temperature vary (in °C) Spherical journey effectivity (in %) Cycles Instances (most) Price Weight Reminiscence Security
LCO 3.7 150-180 10 -40 to 80 90 1000 Costly Gentle No Dangerous
LMO 3.7 100-150 1 -40 to 85 95 700 Low-cost Heavy No Good
LFP 3.2 90-160 5 -40 to 80 95 12,000 Low-cost Gentle No Excellent
NMC 3.6 150-220 10 -40 to 70 93 2000 Costly Gentle No Dangerous
NCA 3.6 200-260 90 3000 Costly Gentle No Good
LTO 2.4 50-80 5 -40 to 55 97 20,000 Costly Gentle No Excellent

NMC: Excessive-performing, reasonably priced cell

Lithium nickel manganese cobalt oxide (NMC) cells have a cathode made up of a mix of nickel, manganese, and cobalt—generally within the ratio of 60%, 20%, and 20%, respectively. The properties of the cell might be altered by altering the proportion of every aspect to attain both a better particular power density or a better particular energy. The nominal voltage of the NMC cell is 3.7V and a excessive power density of 150-220Wh/kg. These batteries have a low self-heating fee and are cheaper than most different chemistries, which makes them extremely standard.

Utility. NMC batteries are utilized in energy instruments and are one of the most well-liked battery chemistries for EVs.

NCA: Excessive power and lasting cell

Lithium nickel cobalt aluminium oxide (NCA) cells are principally LCO cells with nickel and aluminium added as further components of their cathode. NCA cells have a excessive power density of 200 to 260Wh/kg and a nominal voltage of three.6V. The cells have an honest lifespan of 2000 cost cycles. Though the excessive proportion of nickel within the cathode improves the power density of the cell, these cells will not be steady and due to this fact require extra security necessities to observe their behaviour and preserve customers secure. NCA batteries can maintain a excessive charging present, thus enabling quick charging, however the restricted availability of cobalt and nickel makes these batteries costly.

Utility. The NCA batteries have a excessive power density, making them appropriate to be used in electrical powertrains, grid power storage, and many others.

LTO: Lengthy-lasting however low power density cell

Lithium titanate (LTO), also called li-titanate, cells incorporate superior nanotechnology of their anode. Not like different cells, which make use of graphite, LTO’s anode is made up of lithium titanate, a extremely porous materials that has as much as 33x extra floor space per gram than carbon. The excessive floor space permits quicker cost and discharge charges. The LTO cells have a poor power density of round 50 to 80 Wh/kg and has a nominal voltage of two.4V. The excessive floor space permits quicker motion of electrons, which permits discharge charges exceeding 30C for brief time period. (The cost and discharge present of a battery is measured in C-rate. Most moveable batteries are rated at 1C.) LTO is among the most secure chemistries obtainable out there. These batteries have a really excessive operation life of seven,000 to twenty,000 cycles.

Utility. LTO batteries have been employed within the Japanese-only variant of Mitsubishi’s i-MiEV and in some Honda bikes and vehicles. The LTO cells will not be generally utilized in shopper electronics on account of their decrease power density, however their quick charging and discharging fee make them appropriate for purposes in heavy equipment, energy instruments, EVs, and many others. In future, they could discover utility in storing wind and photo voltaic power and creating good grids.


Li-ion cells have very totally different traits based mostly on their inner development. The desk above compares some vital traits of various Li-ion cell chemistries for reference.

Li-ion cell is among the most vital power storage units in immediately’s time. The cell has lots of totally different chemistries, and the properties of those cells rely upon inner chemistry of the cells. Each single chemistry has its personal professionals and cons. Due to this fact, choice of the proper cell is essential for reaching the very best price, efficiency, and weight of a product.

The writer, Sharad Bhowmick, works as a Expertise Journalist at EFY. He’s obsessed with energy electronics and power storage applied sciences. He needs to assist obtain the objective of a carbon impartial world.